I contribute a weekly column to the Platte County Landmark under the “Rambling Moron” name. It’s a great Northland Newspaper and well worth a subscription. The following is an copy of my article which appeared in the 5/25/12 edition – printed with permission.
WHAT’S THE BEST WEAPON AGAINST AN EGOTIST? SNARK
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working with someone with a tremendous ego. (No, it’s not Ivan Foley. At least, THIS story isn’t about Ivan Foley.) This guy spends his days speaking in generalities expecting everything to be completed. He talks down to people. He assumes the dominant position in all conversations and actions.
I’d be upset, except I’m just so jealous of him, it’s crazy. How does someone get to be that guy? When you’re playing on the playground, does the egotist start as the guy who asks for your lunch money? Is he the one on the top of the monkey bars? Is he the genius in the corner plotting everyone’s demise?
Egotists are a challenge to deal with in every way. They’re not like a blowhard that you can dismiss or ignore. They’re usually your boss, or a business partner, or maybe your spouse. But the one I’m dealing with right now, I’m unable to get away from. I’m stuck with him – so I have to find a way to deal with it.
I’ve found that the best weapon against someone with a gigantic ego is snark. It really seems to slow them down, frustrate and even upset them, plus it’s a good way to steal a little of their power for your own humor. Let me give you an example.
Egotist: “Hey Chris, those reports aren’t going to write themselves. I’ve got to have them on my desk by Thursday because I’m heading to the lake Friday morning. I gotta get the boat out into the water for the first time this season!”
Me: “No problem. Give me the fax number to your yacht and I’ll be sure to fax them over on Friday afternoon, when I committed to have them done for you.”
Another tool that the egotist likes to use is feigned confusion. Let’s say you have an agreement about when you can get your report done. The egotist might come to you at noon and act confused and bewildered wondering why it wasn’t done by then. What he’s done is moved up the deadline, just by acting like the deadline was noon all along. This is one of the things that frustrate me the most. The key to fighting this is to get EVERYTHING in writing. At which point you can print out the e-mail saying 4:00 and hand it to them.
I think however, that when I get rich and powerful, I might like to be one of those guys. Those folks who aren’t as smart as they appear to be. You could get everything done for you simply by expecting it to be done for you. Call them “fat cats” or “dick-tators” or whatever. I call it a goal. You don’t have to prove your superiority, you just assume it and it is done. Oh, sure, all of my servants would hate me, but screw them – I’m the one in charge here.
Or maybe I’ll just stay down here with the rest of you, plotting ways to silently poison the boss’s coffee with no trace.
(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. He also hosts “The Kansas City Baseball Vault” on ESPN 1510 AM Thursday at 6 p.m. Reach him through his web site, ramblingmorons.com)